It’s time to plug in your company fleet, however the place precisely?

Rising up, individuals typically advised me that it’s good to be distinctive, have my very own opinions and never at all times comply with the plenty. I’m grateful for this mindset, because it has pushed me to seek out my means in life and develop as an expert and particular person. However in the case of the electrical car business, it’s changing into more and more troublesome to have a unique opinion than “EVs are nice!” 

Whereas EVs are nice, match many driver and fleet use instances, and clients lastly have quite a few EV choices to select from, public charging infrastructure remains to be scaling.

No query, charging an EV is changing into simpler every day, as charging suppliers set up new public charging stations and develop progressive options. It has at all times been tremendous straightforward in the event you cost at dwelling, the office or a fleet depot. Nonetheless, in the case of utilizing public EV charging stations, primarily fast-charging stations, finding a public fast-charging station that works as supposed can nonetheless generally really feel like discovering a needle in a haystack. 

A fast Google search illustrates the extent of the issue. Within the final month alone, quite a few tales throughout Enterprise Insider, The Drive and California Globe have showcased simply how troublesome and unreliable the U.S. public fast-charging infrastructure will be — with stations which can be damaged or that don’t work as supposed. The scenario shouldn’t be significantly better in different elements of the world.

We’ve not thought of public EV charging networks as a result of it is just too a lot of a variable to really feel assured in assembly customer support degree agreements …

Fortunately, the Biden-Harris administration lately launched the long-awaited Discover of Proposed Rulemaking for proposed minimal requirements and necessities for EV charging initiatives funded by the Nationwide Electrical Automobile Infrastructure (NEVI) System Program. These minimal requirements are designed to turbocharge the EV business and instantly tackle the hurdles recognized within the articles linked above, reminiscent of requiring a minimal variety of charging ports per location and mandating a minimal of 97 p.c uptime for all federally funded public charging stations.

With all that in thoughts, I used to be curious to learn the way company fleets use public EV charging stations and whether or not they’re experiencing comparable points as on a regular basis drivers. In talking with business executives from Siemens and Iron Mountain, I discovered how every firm is leveraging the general public EV charging stations of their geographic area — or on this case, not utilizing it for probably the most half, which says loads proper there.

For each firms, like for a lot of EV drivers and fleets, dwelling charging is the easiest way to cost their EV fleet. That use case is adopted by work/depot charging, after which — possibly, simply possibly — public EV charging comes into the image.

[Interested in learning more about the electrify-everything movement? Join leaders from the private and public sectors, utilities, solution providers, investors and startups at VERGE Electrify, online July 25-26.]

Each firms have made a dedication to impress their fleets by way of the Local weather Group’s EV100 initiative, and I labored with them in my prior position because the EV100 Program Supervisor. Every firm’s dedication and progress is tracked within the annual EV100 Progress and Perception Report. 

After I spoke with Kevin Hagen, vice chairman of environmental, social and governance (ESG) technique at Iron Mountain, he mentioned Iron Mountain’s fleet contains a mixture of light-duty passenger autos, medium-duty cargo vans, last-mile supply autos and conventional fleet autos.

Iron Mountain operates a worldwide fleet of over 5,000 autos, and as a part of its fleet electrification journey, Iron Mountain is dedicated to electrifying 1,110 of its autos as much as 7.5 tons in curb car weight by 2030. That interprets to one hundred pc of their firm passenger automobiles and 50 p.c of their vans. Iron Mountain operates fleet autos all over the world together with within the U.S. and within the U.Ok., the place it lately deployed 12 new electrical vans bringing the corporate’s complete EVs on the highway to roughly 50 autos globally. 

For passenger autos, the sentiment throughout Iron Mountain is that folks wish to cost at dwelling, whether or not that’s at an residence constructing or standalone residence. Iron Mountain is offering dwelling chargers, by way of a partnership with Enel X, to all workers with an organization automotive to help this broad curiosity.

In talking with Katie Keeton, fleet supervisor at Siemens, she shared the same opinion that 80 p.c of Siemens’ passenger car charging takes place at dwelling. Siemens is putting in its personal dwelling chargers to help this. The opposite 20 p.c of charging occurs utilizing the general public EV charging community. This 80/20 break up in charging for Siemens follows a long-standing notion throughout the business that 80 p.c of charging occurs at dwelling.  

Siemens has a worldwide dedication to impress greater than 43,000 of its autos as much as 7.5 tons in curb car weight by 2030. About 3,000 EVs, a lot of that are passenger autos, had been already deployed throughout the globe as of Marc, in keeping with the current EV100 Annual Progress and Perception Report.

Siemens employee vehicle charging using a Siemens home charger

Ideas on public charging networks

Even for bigger autos, reminiscent of cargo vans and last-mile supply autos, Iron Mountain doesn’t depend on the general public EV charging community. “The workforce has designed driver routes without having to cost outdoors of the office/depot setting,” Hagen mentioned, noting that autos come again to a depot to cost.

“We’ve not thought of public EV charging networks as a result of it is just too a lot of a variable to really feel assured in assembly customer support degree agreements (SLAs)… For us, it’s all in regards to the buyer SLA,” Hagen mentioned. A variable might imply the station is getting used when an Iron Mountain driver urgently wants it or the charging station shouldn’t be working as supposed, inflicting a delay. 

Within the case of Siemens, a lot of the fleet that Keeton is electrifying is made up of passenger autos, whether or not the autos are for gross sales representatives or executives. The primary set of service fleet autos (Ford F-150 Lightnings) are coming within the subsequent couple of weeks, and Siemens is branching out into different EV manufacturers.

Keeton mentioned that for the 20 p.c of charging actions that occur on public networks, drivers have skilled few charging points regarding malfunctioning charging stations. A lot of these autos are Tesla fashions, which may use the notoriously extra dependable Supercharger community. Nonetheless, even the non-Tesla autos haven’t skilled many points, Keeton mentioned, though she famous there isn’t a lot exercise utilizing public EV charging stations, as drivers cost largely at dwelling. 

Full circle, drivers love EVs

After I requested each Hagen and Keeton to share one thing they didn’t anticipate occurring of their firm’s transition in the direction of EVs, each mentioned they had been shocked by simply how a lot drivers need EVs. 

“It’s a meals combat for who will get to drive an EV at Iron Mountain,” Hagen mentioned, including that EVs are an enormous perk for worker retention and driver satisfaction.

Keeton mentioned she didn’t anticipate simply how a lot drivers would respect Siemens’ fleet electrification technique and the way they’re part of it. Drivers assume it’s “so cool how they’re on the forefront of this transition,” Keeton mentioned. She famous {that a} main motive for that success is as a result of Siemens has concerned its workers and drivers throughout the entire transition, offering instructional sources and making certain drivers really feel comfy and conscious of what car fashions exist.

On the finish of the day, a company fleet electrification journey is nothing with out the staff who drive the EVs. Among the many many selections an organization should make as they set out on this journey, none will be extra necessary than making certain workers really feel concerned and part of the highway forward!

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